Tennessee Board of Education Solicits Parent Feedback on School Social Studies Programs

The Tennessee State Board of Education is asking parents for feedback about the state’s social studies programs, and will update those programs accordingly.

“The Tennessee Academic Standards are the grade- or course-level expectations for what students should know and be able to do,” according to the board’s website. “The State Board of Education (SBE) is charge [sic] in law with conducting a review of math, science, English language arts, and social studies standards on a rotating, six-year cycle.”

This year, social studies courses are up for review.

“The first step in this review process is a transparent survey open to all members of the public in Tennessee,” according to the SBE. “The State Board appreciates your interest in the K-12 Social Studies standards and welcomes your input.”

The curriculum for review is sorted by grade level and also by topic.

One of those topics is African American History.

The overall objective of African American History is described as follows:

Students will examine the life and contributions of African Americans from the early 1600s through the contemporary United States. Students will explore the influence of geography on slavery and the growth of slavery in the U.S. Students will consider urban and rural African American communities and institutions in the North and South leading up to and during the Civil War. Students will investigate the rise of Jim Crow and the subsequent effects of the laws and trace the impact of African American migration through the early 20th century. Students will explore the impact of the Harlem Renaissance as well as the contributions of African Americans during the Great Depression and World War II. Students will examine the successes and failures of the Civil Rights Movement and consider the contemporary issues confronting African Americans.

The curriculum is then broken down into specific courses, and survey respondents can choose whether to “keep [the] standard as is,” “move [the] standard to another grade,” “change [the] standard” or “remove [the] standard.”

“After the survey period concludes on July 18, 2022, teams of Tennessee educators from K-12 schools and higher education will meet to review the public feedback and propose revisions to the standards,” the SBE says. “The proposed revisions will be available for a second round of public input in early 2023. The Standards Recommendation Committee, comprised of individuals appointed by the Governor and leaders of the Tennessee General Assembly, will review the proposed revisions and the second round of public feedback to make additional changes. Finally, the revised standards will go to the State Board of Education for approval.”

School curriculum has been at the forefront of political battles over the past two years, with many parents feeling that race and gender are featured too prominently across all subjects.

Critical Race Theory (CRT), which has become prevalent in schools nationwide, has been a flashpoint.

Conservative parents believe that teaching through a lens of racial and sexual oppression is wrong, and many, including Tennessee’s own Robin Steenman of Moms for Liberty, have protested the practice.

For that, President Joe Biden’s administration labeled them “domestic terror” threats.

“Our message to [Attorney General Merrick] Garland would be this: by [weaponizing] the DOJ against parents, you’re only emboldening us and affirming to us how corrupt the system is – from the Public Schools, to the top of our Government agencies,” Steenman told The Tennessee Star in May. “It’s demonstrating just how far the progressive Left is willing to go to seize this generation’s mind – they will threaten, intimidate, and harass parents using government authority if need be.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Social Studies Class” by woodleywonderworks. CC BY 2.0.

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